Still Remains Interview
Still Remains is a metalcore band from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They formed out of previous local bands Shades of Amber and Unition. They released three studio albums, Of Love and Lunacy, The Serpent and Ceasing to Breathe, both to positive reviews, and had minor UK chart success with the single “Dancing with the Enemy”. They disbanded in mid-2008 but reunited for one final show in March 2011. In May the band announced that the reunion would be permanent.
Grim Magazine: First off, what did you do to your voice to make it blow out?
TJ: Well, I got really sick a week and a half ago, right before we started touring. If I hadn’t have gotten sick, I’d be fine. It’s just that when you’re screaming while you’re sick, your voice doesn’t have a chance to heal, doesn’t have a chance to keep going, really. It just kind of makes things worse every day, so that’s kind of where I’m at.
Grim Magazine: It was cool of you guys not to cancel and just find a replacement vocalist on short notice like that because most bands would’ve bitched out when something like that happens. That’s really cool of you guys.
TJ: Thanks, man.
Grim Magazine: As you guys are a fairly new band, could you tell us about how everything got started for Still Remains?
TJ: We just all came together and played a lot of local shows in Grand Rapids and the surrounding states; we didn’t want to be confined to just our hometown. We tried to get out as much as we possibly could, we booked some small tours ourselves. Eventually, we got into contact with a manager when that got underway, we started touring more. Eventually, we recorded our EP and started looking for labels, stuff like that. Along the way, we had a couple of lineup changes and that kind of thing and signed with Roadrunner.
Grim Magazine: How’s the treatment been from Roadrunner so far?
TJ: Great, it’s been really great. They’re a bunch of great, great guys; we really love being on the label.
Grim Magazine: Yeah, they’re a marketing machine, so you guys will probably take off pretty well.
TJ: I hope so. (laughs) We’ll see what happens.
Grim Magazine: All right, how was the Road Rage tour?
TJ: It was great, it was a lot of fun. The European leg was really cool, that’s for sure.
Grim Magazine: First European tour, I’d imagine.
TJ: Yeah, our first European tour and we got to share a bus with 3 Inches of Blood, we’d never even been on a bus before, so that was really awesome, too.
Grim Magazine: What was your favorite country to play in?
TJ: Anywhere in the UK. I really liked Scotland a lot and I really like England, as well.
Grim Magazine: What was it like working with a producer like GGGarth on the album?
TJ: GGGarth was great. I was really nervous at first before we went into it and after we started working with him, we learned that he was just a normal dude, regardless of having a huge name for himself and everything. He just made us feel right at home, really comfortable; it was a really great experience.
Grim Magazine: Now, I read that you guys got stopped by Canadian customs on the way up to record because they thought you were a bunch of heroin smugglers.
TJ: I don’t know about that.
Grim Magazine: How does it feel to have gotten away with it?
TJ: (smiles) Oh yeah… I never heard that.
Grim Magazine: Really? I read that on the band’s website.
Grim Magazine: Yeah.
TJ: I don’t know, man. (laughs) I don’t know what to tell you about that. But we did get stopped and we just had to pay a small fee to get in with our merch and stuff like that. So it wasn’t too bad.
Grim Magazine: A lot of bands that are comprised of members that follow the Christian faith prefer not to think of themselves as “Christian bands” due to a lot of the negative stereotypes associated with the term, but rather as Christians who make music in order to reach a wider, more receptive audience. Where does Still Remains fall into this?
TJ: We started this band founded on God and our personal beliefs and that was something that was a huge part of the band for a long time. As we got bigger and grew more, we decided that we wanted to make it like a personal thing, just like if I want to talk to people or any of the guys want to talk to people, it would just be our own thing, and we sort of had clashing views about it, but I think now we’ve had a spiritual, I guess you could call it a reawakening in the band. A lot of it was me, I think… I don’t know what it was. But now I feel that I just want to share what’s on my heart with all these kids if they’re willing to listen.
Grim Magazine: And avoid a good smiting as well. (laughs)
TJ: Well, I don’t know. We’ve just kind of come to terms that the music is one percent; it’s like the doorway to talking to kids and meeting new friends and talking about what we believe in.
Grim Magazine: Now, pertaining to the lyrics for “Blossom, The Witch”, who or what specifically is Blossom?
TJ: Blossom is just the name that I gave this character that I kind of just made up in my head. The song is about sexual temptation, a man or a woman can struggle with it every day. It was something that I had dealt with, that’s why I wrote the song. But Blossom is just the name I gave to the temptation, I guess you could say.
Grim Magazine: Are you guys surprised at how fast kids are learning the lyrics to your songs? ‘Cause the album just came out a couple of months ago and there were so many people singing along to every word of it.
TJ: Yeah, it’s weird. (laughs) I don’t know what to make of it. It’s definitely really cool, I love it. You know, not really being able to scream right now, it means that we go around and play Still Remains karaoke for the next few nights, so if anybody knows the words, they can come on stage and sing along and some of the kids really know a lot of them, so it’s really awesome; it makes me feel happy, you know? It’s kind of a blessing. Awesome.
Grim Magazine: Okay, my last question – is, in fact, the worst yet to come?
TJ: All right. Um… it seems like that right now, to tell you the honest truth. But who knows? Maybe not. I don’t know. Not for the band. I’m just kind of venting right now.
Grim Magazine: I understand the feeling.
TJ: I just went through a rough spell tonight with some stuff at home.
Grim Magazine: I’m sorry, dude.
TJ: Aw, that’s okay. But I’m sure that things will get better.
Grim Magazine: Okay, thank you for the interview.
TJ: You’re very welcome!
Band: Still Remains
With: TJ Miller – vocalist
Interview Date: July 27th, 2005
Years Active: 2002–2008, 2011–present
Website: Band Website
Label: Roadrunner Records
Origin: United States
Reviewed by: Grim Magazine
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